ever dreamt of seeing a band that was before your time or perhaps of
your time but you were just living in a cave, then your dreams of reconciling
that youthful nostalgia will stop in Salt Lake City for all to enjoy,
as long as you are 21 and have the cash to throw down on a ticket when
War plays Port o’ Call.
For my generation—whichever one came between X and Y—it
seems like we have a natural curiosity of our parents’ adolescent
years, considering they came of age during the rebellious ’60s
and scandalous ’70s. Digging through my parents’ boxed-up
records exposed me to the world of soul, funk and Latin rock that played
an integral role in my rebellion against current crap pop, not to be
confused with good pop. Sly and the Family Stone, Ike and Tina Turner,
Malo and even Barry White all made their mark during adolescence and
opened a window to other exceptional music.
While listening to generations-old records seemed hip at the time, imaging
a live show was a nostalgia impossible to fulfill.
But now that War is passing through town, the songs from dusty vinyl
will become vibrant as Lonnie Jordan, the sole original member of the
band who leads a new group of players to spread the message of War.
The RED Interview
Raised in Compton, Calif., Jordan began to play keys at the age of nine
off and on at church and started performing at the same age. With close
to 40 years in the music business, he attributes one factor for keeping
him driven: “My audience, man, the smiles on their faces. I am
a 24-hour doctor of music on call, and I’m always there for the
people to make sure that they keep smiling from my music,” he
As an original member of the group, keyboardist Jordan saw it all and
shared some insight about his music from his tour manager’s cell
phone while riding to Sonora, Calif., to kick off the tour.
Before Animals frontman Eric Burdon named his new backing group War,
the band was known as Creators later to become Nightshift, a rhythm
and-blues cover band rooted in the Southern California scene. With Burdon,
the band employed improvisation as its primary songwriting tactic. This
technique carried on long after the British frontman left the group
after completing just two albums. “[There is] a lot of stuff that
we do on stage, at rehearsals or at our sound checks. We always come
out with jams that we record and end up possibly using,” Jordan
said. The classic “Spill The Wine,” is probably the most
popular song to come out of the Burdon years.
Not until the second post Burdon album, The World Is a Ghetto, did the
band become increasingly popular. The album was a chart-topper and increased
the band’s multi ethnic scope and appeal with the hit song “Cisco
Kid.” The album Why Can’t We Be Friends proved successful
as well with the title track and the overplayed “Low Rider.”
War released albums throughout the late ’70s and continued to
tour throughout the ’80s despite the loss of some of the members.
The line-up reflects the old personnel: “Same as it was back in
the ’70s, seven members,” Jordan said. While Jordan plays
keys and sings, Fernando Harkless plays saxophone and flute, Tetsuya
Nakamura blows the harmonica, Sal Rodriguez plays drums, Marcos Reyes
adds additional percussion, Francisco Pancho Tomacelli plays bass and
Stewart Ziff takes care of the guitar.
Jordan didn’t specify any favorite compositions throughout the
entire War catalogue. “I’m proud of all of [the songs] really,
because I put just as much effort in…all of them.”
While the stage is the best place to introduce new material to an attentive
audience, Jordan said, “I don’t want to bore people with
anything they’ve never heard before, especially if it hasn’t
been played on the radio. I prefer kickin’ back with the old hits
for the reason they came out to hear us.”
So for your own personal blast to the past, make plans to visit
Port o’ Call on 78 W. 400 South tonight, June 12, to see and hear